Authorities confirm debris from small plane found in north Chickamauga Lake
UPDATE (Monday evening):
Search crews are calling it a night, coming off north Chickamauga Lake where Hamilton County authorities say a small plane crashed Monday afternoon.
The FAA said in an update Monday evening that "the aircraft is submerged in a large river channel (destroyed). Divers were unsuccessful in their recovery efforts to locate any POB’s. ['persons on board']"
Hamilton County EMS spokesperson Amy Maxwell confirmed debris from a crashed plane was found in the water near Camp Vesper Point Monday afternoon.
Maxwell says crews began searching the water of Hobo Bluff, near Lee Pike in the North Soddy-Daisy area. Rescue agencies from the Sale Creek Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Dallas Bay VFD and STARS responded.
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Matt Lea said in a news conference that the debris found appears to be from a plane fuselage.
In a statement, Maxwell says by 2:48 p.m., rescue crews confirmed the plane debris was moving south very rapidly in rough water with 3-4 foot waves.
Spokesman Lea says the search area consists of water that 40 feet deep in some places.
The FAA says the plane involved in the search is a fixed wing, single-engine plane with four seats. It appears to be an older plane.
A FAA spokesman also says the Chattanooga air traffic control tower got a phone call from Hamilton County's 911 operator about several reports of an explosion followed by an aircraft crashing into a wooded area.
Recovery efforts will begin again on Tuesday morning, with sonar in use.
Maxwell says they haven't yet confirmed how many people were on board. Several other questions remain unanswered.
"We don't know how many souls were on board. We don't know what kind of plane it was, how large of a plane it was, how many it actually carries. So, that will have to be determined at a later date once they're actually able to find the rest of the fuselage," said Maxwell.
Following days of non-stop rain and high winds, conditions made any rescue attempts nearly impossible.
"We have a dive team that is considered a forensic dive team. They are on the scene. They are trying to get in the water, but when you have that deep of water with that current and the waves and the wind, it is just not a good situation. We want to make sure our guys are safe. we don't need to add any more problems to this," said Lea.
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office released a statement on Monday's search - see their Facebook post below.
This is a developing story - depend on us to keep you updated.
Authorities in Hamilton County are on the scene searching for a reported aircraft crash that happened near Soddy-Daisy Monday afternoon.
The crash was reported at 3400 Lee Pike.
We have a crew on the scene and are working to confirm details about what happened. Our crew spoke with an officer who tells her a homeowner who called 911 saw the plane have trouble & go down in or near Chickamauga Lake.
As of 2:30 p.m., authorities have not located any wreckage. Dozens of personnel are on the scene, and have launched boats in the water.
The director of Camp Vesper Point confirms emergency crews are using their dock from which to launch.
Right now we don't know what kind of aircraft was involved, and we don't know whether there are any injuries.
This is a developing story and will be updated.